Caution: Minor Spoilers for Creed II in first paragraph.
One of my main complaints with Creed II is that it doesn't give Rocky Balboa enough to do. Granted, it isn't his sequel, but you'd think a movie that brings back one of the former Champ's most recognizable foes (Dolph Lundgren's Russian killer of Apollos, Ivan Drago) so that the two characters' "sons" can go toe-to-toe in the ring would be a little more giving to its former namesake, narratively speaking. Regardless, a decent chunk of Creed II's story finds Sylvester Stallone's Balboa absent or playing go-fer when times get tough for Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), as the new heavyweight belt holder moves to LA, prepares to duke it out with Drago's son Viktor (Florian 'Big Nasty' Munteanu), and bring a baby into the world with his best girl Bianca (Tessa Thompson).
Maybe this dearth of further character development is due to Rocky's arc being pretty much complete by the end of the first Creed. "Spoilers Ahoy* When a solid chunk of your movie revolves around the Philly boxing icon rediscovering a purpose and essentially transforming into Adonis' own personal Mickey (before battling back against a possibly terminal cancer dignosis), there's really not a whole lot left for the character to do anymore. That's a lot of motion picture crammed into a B-Plot.
Well, it seems like Stallone recognizes that Rocky's journey has come to a close, as well. The star - who's in the middle of making another Rambo sequel as this news breaks - took to Instagram to issue a fireside goodbye, complete with a video where he calls Creed II his "last rodeo" with the character.
Take a look:
I am reposting this because there was a technical difficulty. I just want to thank everyone around the whole wide World for taking the Rocky family into their hearts for over 40 years. It’s been my Ultimate privilege to have been able to create and play this meaningful character. Though it breaks my heart, Sadly all things must pass... and end. I love you Kind and generous people , and The most wonderful thing of all , is that ROCKY will never die because he lives on in you ....
I'd be lying if I didn't admit to getting a little emotional while watching that. Like many others, Rocky Balboa has meant the world to me as a cinema fan throughout the years; the consummate underdog who fought back against all odds and multiple cartoonish challengers, while that beautiful Bill Conti brass theme blared through the loudspeakers. If this truly is Rocky's final appearance onscreen, then it's a rather triumphant one for many viewers (read Leigh's astute analysis of Creed II's themes here).
Now, if you'll excuse us, we gotta console Evan for a hot minute.